Some businesses thrive better than others not because they produce better products or services but because they sell more than others through unique sales strategies. It is not out of place therefore to X-ray this text christened "Successful Selling Solutions".
It is written by Julian Clay, a management consultant that specialises in selling techniques. After a successful career with Kodak, Clay developed his own consultancy, and his clients include the James McNaughton Group, ICI, Racal, Gillette and Novartis. He is the co-author of "The Sales Manager's Desktop Guide".
Clay says what would you not give for the expertise of your own coach who followed each stage of your sales campaigns, unlocked problems whenever you got stuck and ensured that you got from almost there to actually making the sale? He adds that this text gives you the equivalent, using self-assessment models which he has developed over many years with major international clients.
Clay assures that the text will show you how to track your progress in your sales campaigns as well as how to identify where you may be going wrong and how to build a successful sales path of development.
According to this author, unlike many books that simply list prescribed techniques and leave readers to interpret them, "Successful Selling Solutions" is different in that it offers clear, practical advice on every aspect of making a sale.
Clay says this text is aimed at people who have begun a career in sales as well as those that want to refresh themselves on some of the main issues. By developing a sale well, you stand a better chance of gaining genuine commitment and maintaining good profit margins, reflects this author. Clay adds that it will also help middle and senior managers to have a better understanding of the sales process. Clay stresses that although each reader's market and level of experience will be different, many of the disciplines will be the same.
This text contains ten chapters. Chapter one is entitled "Preparation and sales development". According to this consultant here, before you begin selling to any target account, it is worth preparing yourself. This can involve knowing something about your market, your products and those of your competitors, educates Clay.
He says by doing this, you will find it easier to manage each stage of a sale correctly. "This can be made easier by having sales models in place to help you develop a sale well...Knowing your products and services well, how they compare with your competitors and their strengths and weakness, is part of the preparation process," stresses the author.
Clay says as you target new and existing accounts, the two key areas in which you should continually update yourself are the strengths and weaknesses of your company and the products/services you sell; and your competitors and products/services they sell. He educates that this knowledge will gain you credibility in the eyes of a buyer and give you confidence that you are offering the right solution when you get a requirement.
Clay explains that another way of preparing well is to ensure that you ask the right questions in a call and record the right type of information. He adds that by doing this, you will increase your chances of developing the sale properly, and keep the buyers' interest. Getting the correct information will also help you turn interest into commitment more easily, submits the author.
Chapter two is based on the subject matter of targeting new accounts. Here, Clay says knowing your products, your competitors and having a forecasting model to help you develop a sale will make it easier to target new accounts. He stresses that breaking into accounts is harder than maintaining existing ones. Clay educates that acquisition of this knowledge will make it easier to build new business relationships.
According to him, having good information about a target account before you meet a buyer will help you build your credibility, confidence and knowledge. Clay says to do this, you will need to find out something about the account.
He expatiates that some of the information you will need to find out should include something about the target account's products and services; company history; competitors; turnover and profit; current challenges; core business objectives; strategic direction; company structure; and buying cycle/behaviour/attitude.
The author explains that with this knowledge, you will show buyers respect and make it easier to begin a dialogue with them. Most of the information listed above can be found in a company's annual report; a company's sales literature; on the Internet, etc., adds Clay.
The author says it can take you time to learn about your target accounts, but it will help you to develop a good understanding of the accounts. In his words, "You will need to decide which ones to spend time researching. A company's annual report and accounts will give a greater insight into their products, services and most importantly - their cultures! It will help you to know how much value they put on the products and services you sell."
Clay says this has a number of benefits as it will enable you to assess the account's potential; develop a good/better relationship with the buyer/decision-maker; decide how much to spend pursuing the account; differentiate yourself against your competitors. Clay adds that the effort you put in has to be compared with the results you get.
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